Fishermen allege attack by Sri Lankan Navy personnel
Six fishermen from Ramanathapuram district, who were fishing near Katchatheevu, were allegedly attacked by Sri Lankan Navy personnel on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters in Rameswaram on Sunday, Kingson, one of the fishermen, said over 500 mechanised boats with around 2,000 fishermen had set off to the sea on Saturday. When he and five others on a boat were fishing near Katchatheevu around 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sri Lankan Navy personnel who came there on a surveillance boat pelted them with stones and chased them away, he said.
Apprehending arrest by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel or attack with deadly weapons, the fishermen hurriedly left the spot. Mr. Kingson said the six fishermen managed to reach ashore safely in his boat.
Only less than a month ago, two fishermen from Mandapam were attacked by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly having entered their territorial waters.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic threat, the Lankan Navy personnel, instead of arresting the ‘tresspassing’ fishermen and seizing their boats and fishnets, had been pelting them with stones and empty bottles. This was really shocking, Sesu Raja, a fishermen leader, said and urged the Union government to convey their disapproval to the Sri Lankan government.
At a time when the fishermen had been fighting to get better prices for their catch, demanding subsidy for diesel and financial assistance from the government in view of the pandemic, such threats to their lives had only worsened their prospects, Mr. Sesu Raja added.
When contacted, a Fisheries Department official in Ramanathapuram district said they would hold an inquiry with Mr. Kingson about the incident and submit a report to the government.